Evaluating Criminal Justice Programs Designed to Reduce Crime by Targeting Repeat Gang Offenders

Student Co-author

CGU Graduate

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Social and Behavioral Sciences


This paper suggests that a theory-driven approach be taken in the evaluation of gang crime reduction programs. The rationale for selecting this approach and an example of this type of evaluation are presented. The gang program evaluated involved close collaboration among law enforcement, probation, and prosecution toward incarcerating repeat gang offenders. Data were collected concerning incarceration and subsequent crime over a seven-year period. Trend analysis indicated a strong relationship between incarceration and gang crime trends, and an overall reduction of 47% in gang crime. It is suggested that policy makers and researchers consider replicating this model to further test its effects. Practical and methodological aspects of evaluating gang crime reduction programs are discussed.

Communities throughout the United States are searching for ways to reduce violence and destruction of property caused by members of street gangs. Criminal justice agencies have implemented a variety of policies and programs intended to reduce gang crime, but little more than anecdotal information exists as to the actual effectiveness of these efforts. The lack of data about effective approaches has prompted leading scholars to declare program evaluation as a top priority in gang research (Howell, 1994 and Klein, 1993). This paper describes various types of gang programs, suggests an approach that could be used in the evaluation of gang programs, reports an evaluation of a criminal justice program intended to reduce gang crime, and concludes with a discussion of evaluation issues and recommendations.

Rights Information

© 2000 Elsevier